In the recent decision of Terry v Drummond , NCAT ordered that a noisy neighbour in a strata building needed to fit extra floor coverings and limit the use of power tools to a prescribed timeframe.
The parties lived in a large 1920’s house converted into 3 units. Soundproofing was not a requirement at the time the house was built. The applicants had installed a false ceiling to reduce the impact of noise and sections of unit 2 had been fitted with a specialist sound reducing underlay. These measures had limited success and the owners of unit 1 eventually complained to NCAT that noise from unit 2 disturbed them in breach of the relevant strata by-laws relating to noise.
The applicants’ commissioned an expert acoustic report that was based on sound recordings over a 2 week period. NCAT accepted the applicants’ expert evidence that the occupier of unit 2 was using power tools in the evening and that sound from the floor of one section of that unit did disturb the applicants. NCAT only required floorcoverings be fitted to 80% of the relevant area and limited the restriction on the use of power tools to 2 years.
Collaboration between neighbours is always the best way to resolve this type of dispute but where that is unsuccessful, and noise disturbance continues, expert acoustic evidence will probably be needed to ensure your argument is heard.